As an unabashed small-town girl, I love country music. What really appeals to me about it is the self-reliance, the simplicity, the old-fashioned ideas that love can last a lifetime, that somewhere men still hold the door and tip their hats for a lady, and that hard work is all you need for success.
Last weekend, Tim McGraw showed that those values aren’t just in his song lyrics. Halfway through a sensitive croon, McGraw refused to continue singing at the Paso Robles, California gig until security removed a man who was behaving “abusively” toward a woman in the crowd.
On the TMZ video, McGraw clearly tells the rowdy fan: “You don’t treat a woman like that,” to the ecstatic cheers of female country-music lovers.
This isn’t the first time McGraw has forcibly ejected someone from a concert for being too rough with the ladies. Last year, he personally hauled a man on-stage mid-song for being ungentleman-like, as the band gamely played bridge music to “Indian Outlaw”. When he returned to center stage after passing the man off to security, McGraw calmly gripped the mic and picked up where the song left off: “…I ain’t lookin’ for trouble…” to the chuckles and cheers of a packed auditorium.
I love these stories, but not because of a celebrity infatuation or even my aforementioned love of country music.
In a celebrity-driven culture, where attention is freely given to those who behave badly, it’s refreshing to see someone with a larger-than-life persona take a stand for decency. It’s easy to get frustrated with apathy, with the sense that bad guys get away with anything because the good guys are too nice to say something. McGraw proved his character by not letting someone mistreat another individual. He stuck his neck out for a girl he didn’t even know, and showed respect for the old-fashioned qualities of a gentleman.
It’s a small act, one moment in a lifetime of hundreds of concerts. But I’m inspired by his example, and living proof of a role model-worthy celebrity. I’m inspired to stick up for those who need a friend, and to hold onto what’s right and true, even if it is old-fashioned.